What will remain in Kashmir to showcase for tourism, asks HC
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Monday issued directions to the state authorities to demarcate the entire local area coming under Pahalgam development authority and present a map of the demarcation area along-with forests, wildlife and conservation sanctuaries within two weeks.
The court also directed the government to demolish all constructions from Lidder river area and present photographs and maps on next date of hearing to corroborate the demolition process.
The court observed that no commercialization should take place in Pahalgam and only the people with the property rights must reside in the area while the people not owning properties legally must be removed.
Meanwhile, while remarking that Pahalgam is getting ruined, the court took umbrage on the absence of secretary tourism despite having been asked to be present. “After a few years, we won’t need secretary tourism (for the hearing) as such industry won’t exist.”
“What people will come to see in Kashmir? Your glaciers are receding, mountains are crumbling and forest area is decreasing. People won’t see how many constructions have you raised,” chief justice Badar Durrez Ahmed said.
In a terse remark, the high court observed that ‘everybody’ is making Kashmir a dumping zone. The court issued directions to the secretary tourism, chief executive officer Pahalgam, chief town planner, Pahalgam development authority, secretary revenue department, secretary forest department to be present on next hearing.
Hearing the PIL filed by Peoples Welfare Organization, Pahalgam, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice MK Hanjura observed that the state has failed in implementing court orders and officials are taking it for granted. “This won’t solve issues,” the bench remarked.
“You are ruining the state. You are destroying it. Why the government is not doing its job”, Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed said.
The court also sought detailed report on queries it had earlier raised with regard to issues like clarity on wildlife zone and forest area of revised Master Plan and directed wildlife and forest department to come up with detailed report on next hearing.
Referring to the order of September 16, 2015, the division bench observed that the status report filed in terms of the said order does not deal with the issues that were required to be dealt with and directed the state to revise the Master Plan properly.
After finalizing the revised Master Plan based on the recommendations of the expert committee, the government had presented it before High Court which sought clarifications on areas like wildlife zone and the forest area.
The revised Master Plan also proposes that an action plan for solid waste management, sewage disposal and water supply be prepared for the entire local area of Pahalgam Development Authority including the existing village settlements.
In 2011, the Court directed the authorities to revise Master Plan (2005-2025) after observing that the earlier one was flawed and prepared with malafide intentions.